NBA lockout: Training camp postponement really hurts Lakers
In less than a week, the Lakers had planned to enter the team's practice facility in El Segundo, hold court with the media and then officially start training camp.
That won't happen. Instead, the Lakers will miss training camp, sit out at least three exhibition games and wonder when the season might start. This isn't exactly a surprise. Serious negotiations, which resume again Tuesday, won't start until players begin missing paychecks. Even if preseason games hardly predict how a regular season pans out, the Lakers enter the 2011-2012 campaign with different circumstances and need training camp to iron out various issues.
1. Team/venue personnel continues to suffer. With the Lakers having to cancel exhibition games Oct. 9 vs. Golden State (in Fresno's Save Mart Center), Oct. 12 vs. Atlanta (in Ontario's Citizens Business Bank Arena) and Oct. 15 vs. Atlanta (at Staples), all the venues miss out on revenue and their employees miss out on wages. The same losses extend to the Lakers' personnel considering that the team has laid off about 20 employees, including assistant general manager Ronnie Lester, four of the team's five athletic trainers and nearly all of the scouting staff.
2. Mike Brown has less time to teach concepts. Forget how the Lakers will benefit from the additional rest. They need training camp to fully go over Brown's defensive system and his new offense that will mostly center around Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. After playing the triangle offense under Phil Jackson, any transition period involving adapting to a faster-paced offense will happen in the regular season, assuming there is one, of course.
3. Gasol can't immediately benefit from European Championships. Had training camp started on time, Gasol would already appear in peak shape. It's conceivable he'll still remain active during this off-season, but nothing can replace the conditioning he could have sharpened during actual competition.
4. Rookies can't get acquainted to pro basketball. The longer Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock go without playing with their future teammates, the harder it will become for them to adapt to the NBA. They've already missed out with a canceled summer league. Missing training camp only exacerbates matters.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times